I know in my last post, I said that the posts from then on were going to be about being not only a dad, but specifically a trans dad. I haven’t posted since then not because there’s nothing to say but because, simply, there hasn’t been time (surprise!). However, never fear – I am working on a few posts, and admittedly this post is more update-type, but I thought it had been a while and folks are probably wondering how things have been going.
Today the babies are one month old. I seriously can’t even believe it. For the first three weeks after they were born, I was still in classes and trying desperately to stay on top of my school work. Luckily, we had Molly’s mom for the first two of those and both of my parents for the third to help us out. Those three weeks are a complete blur to me. So really, last week, my first week after being done with classes for the quarter, was the first time I was really able to spend much time with the girls during the day. And just this past week by itself seems like a month.
We’ve had a few visitors stop by to see the girls, and somehow they are either peacefully sleeping or joyfully awake when visitors arrive, which I’m sure makes this job seem so easy! I think only our daytime nanny really appreciates how difficult it is sometimes when she arrives in the morning to find us deliriously sleep deprived and desperately in need of some time for basic personal hygiene tasks.
We quickly learned that the babies must be on the same schedule. The few days where they got off schedule from each other were some of the most difficult, and a day-to-day life of that just isn’t sustainable for either Molly or me. We attempt for each day to revolve around a 2.5-3 hour cycle (time from beginning of a feeding to the beginning of the next feeding) that looks a little something like this (times are obviously approximate and for illustration purposes only):
1:00-1:45pm – One baby wakes up, begins fussing and is obviously hungry (rooting, etc.). We wake the other baby, change both, and feed them at the same time (until recently this has always required to people, though we think we have just figured out a way for one person to feed both at the same time).
1:45-2:15pm – Babies are changed and have some “awake” time such as tummy time or gazing at you time (which sometimes is more like staring at the ceiling time…we must have a fascinating ceiling fan).
2:15-2:30pm – Babies are changed, swaddled, and put down for “nap time.” This is given a 15-minute block for illustration purposes because we allow them 10 minutes to fuss (if we know that all of their needs are met – ie. not showing hunger signs, clean diaper, etc) before we intervene. One of the girls routinely has a 7-10 minute period of on-and-off fussing, after which she usually settles and goes to sleep. She also seems to be sensitive to dirty diapers so if during that 10 minutes she needs a new diaper, the intervention is to change her, burp her, put her back down, and the 10 minutes starts again…where she’ll fuss for maybe 5-7 minutes, then fall asleep. It actually has been incredibly beneficial to learn their different patterns, because we will only be able to know when something is abnormal if we know what is normal.
Note that the next feeding time would be 3:30/4:00pm-ish. Even if they go right to sleep, with no fussing at all, that leaves only about 1-1.5 hours before the cycle starts again. Throw in one or two fuss periods and you’ve got an hour at most to do whatever you need to do. Of course, if they wake up before the next “scheduled” feeding time and appear hungry, they are fed. But the cycle is then much shorter, leaving even less time for sleep, housekeeping, eating, errands, etc. This cycle was 24 hours around-the-clock for the first 3 weeks or so – thankfully we had night-time helpers during that time. Only in the past week have we been able to get them right to sleep after middle-of-the-night feedings (though there have still been better nights and not as great nights). We’ve tried all types of different swaddles and now that they’ve gotten so much stronger, our newest find is the Miracle Blanket. It makes them look like little caterpillars, but so far so good in terms of them not being able to wiggle their arms out and wake themselves up.
The girls have changed so much already, in only one month. They are both gaining weight like champs, have definitely discovered their voices, and their different personalities are really starting to show. It is an absolute joy to bond with them and watch them develop. This is only the beginning, and I can’t wait for what is to come.